Enter through the two massive granite halves of the “Mountain of Despair” to reach the “Stone of Hope,” from which the statue of Dr. King appears. The memorial design references Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, where he said, “Out of a mountain of despair a stone of hope.” The Inscription Wall, carved with passages from 14 of Dr. King’s sermons and speeches, surrounds the statue. The memorial is included in many Washington D.C. sightseeing tours, including walking tours, bicycle tours, nighttime tours, and tours focused on African American history.
Things to know before you go
- It’s free to access the memorial.
- A bookstore, restrooms, and water fountains are located near the entrance.
- The memorial is accessible to wheelchair users. There are also some wheelchair accessible parking spots in the lot next to the memorial, along West Basin Drive.
- The weather in Washington D.C. can be unpredictable; dress appropriately and carry an umbrella.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes if you’re planning to walk the area, as the distances between attractions can be further than they appear.
How to get there
The memorial is located near the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin. To take public transportation to the memorial, the closest Metro stops are Smithsonian (on the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines) and Foggy Bottom (on the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines).
When to get there
When to Get There The memorial is open 24 hours a day. Rangers are available from 9:30am to 10pm to answer questions. Ranger led programs are held from time to time. Spring is a popular time to visit the Tidal Basin area, particularly when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The memorial is lit up at night, a great time to visit to beat the crowds.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Located near the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the National Museum of African History and Culture is the only national museum in the country focused on the African American experience. The museum features 12 galleries, 13 interactive exhibits, and a 36,000-object collection.
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